5 years

I just read this post by Maura Foley on The Hairpin while waiting for water to boil for my coffee.

She writes about struggling to get to that 5 year mark– the famous one in Cancer World, the one that if reached means the cancer is way less likely to come back. My mom was so close too. At about four and a half years, just about 3 months after her annual mammogram that declared her cancer free, it came back.

I hope this girl’s dad makes it, and I hope he gets to live a lot longer. I lived with that worry about the cancer coming back for so long, telling myself that my mom was okay, that she was “better.” But as Maura writes, there is no “cure,” only windows. Somehow my body knew that Mama wasn’t “all better,” and my mind fought with this instinct for four years. And then it came back, or was never really gone. And then she got a year longer than any doctor thought she would. And then she started dying. And then she died. Now I live with a different feeling in the back of my mind all the time: a huge hole, a constant reminder, Mama is not here.

The water’s ready, I’ve steeped the coffee in the french press. Now I’m going to sit on my little porch and draw some flowers.

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4 thoughts on “5 years

  1. Oh, Anna, I know, I am starting my 19th year since I had breast cancer and I worry every year when I go for my mammogram and i was holding my breath when Vi was reaching her 5th year because I too thought if she got to that she would be ok and we know how it turned out. I know you miss her and you will forever, she was a shinning light in all our lives. At Austin’s game the other night it rained and there was 3 rainbows that touched both ends of the ground and the colors were so vibrant just like Vi’s paintings and it stayed for a long time, I think it was your mom saying she loves us and she is still with us. It gave me a little peace. I love you,

  2. Anna & Phoebe, I am so impressed with you two girls, your Mom did a great job in raising you both and of course also your Dad, allowing you girls to express your selfves with your art and your feelings in your great loss. I am sure you girls will continue on with your lives without your Mom. God bless you all. Great friend of your Gramma

  3. I just subscribed to your Hardware and so, just read this…..I know this has been a long,difficult road for you. I am a cancer survivor myself –almost 14 years– and never take it for granted ( and am always anxious at those annual mammograms, too). Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I hope you know there are many people who support you!

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